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Housing Matters Policy Update: 9-20-18

Samuel Gunter, Interim Executive Director

Federal

Pres. Trump approves disaster declaration in North Carolina
President Donald Trump approved a disaster declaration for North Carolina as Florence brought heavy rain and flooding to the state. The federal funding provides assistance to local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations in Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, and Pender counties. According to the office of the Press Secretary, assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

FEMA Updates

Ten additional counties have been designated for Individual Assistance (IA) and Public Assistance (PA Categories A and B): Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Lenoir, Jones, Robeson, Sampson, and Wayne. More counties may be designated as assessments continue. FEMA explanations of IA and PA programs are at: HQ-18-127-FactSheet. Residents may register with FEMA after filing an insurance claim. If internet access is available, the best way to register is online at DisasterAssistance.gov, or with the FEMA Mobile App. Residents can also call 800-621-3362 (FEMA). Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585.

 

State

Governor Cooper Requests Additional Federal Disaster Declaration

Governor Roy Cooper today requested a presidential disaster declaration to expedite the process of receiving federal aid for cleanup and recovery.The added disaster declaration would go beyond the federal action already in effect, which is already providing Federal Emergency Management Agency funds and assistance as we prepare for the hurricane. The additional declaration would provide federal help with debris removal as well as FEMA search and rescue teams, disaster medical teams, hazardous material clean up assistance, meals, generators, fuel and more.

 

Tyran Hill, Local and Regional Policy Officer

Local

Charlotte Affordable Housing News

The City of Charlotte has found two new partners in their affordable housing efforts. Developer Crescent Communities is putting up land for affordable housing at a new mega-development in west Charlotte, while Wells Fargo pledged $20 million to groups that build housing and help homeowners with down payment assistance. This is a great example of when can be accomplished when the public and private sector collaborate on behalf of affordable housing.

Durham-Orange Light Rail Update

The Durham County Board of Commissioners approved a letter from Commissioners Chair Wendy Jacobs to the GoTriangle Board of Trustees agreeing to fund the $57.6 million gap created after the N.C. General Assembly changed the funding makeup this summer. The commissioners unanimously approved their chair’s letter at their August 27th meeting.

Winston-Salem Housing Authority Selling Apartments

The Housing Authority of Winston-Salem will sell its high-rise apartment tower near downtown due to rising maintenance costs. The building has 201 units, and the tax value is $4.25 million, according to Forsyth County tax records. The housing authority wants to use proceeds from the sale to build or renovate smaller apartment complexes rather than another high-density building.

 

Reports

UNC-Charlotte Report on Homelessness

UNC Charlotte Urban Institute has released a new housing report. The report found that Mecklenburg County needs to try tackling the issues of housing instability and homelessness together. According to the report, the biggest barrier to housing is tied to economic mobility. The report said 39 percent of people claimed they were unable to afford rent and even though evictions were down, more evictions had been filed. The full report can be found here.

Landlord Acceptance Study

Earlier this month, the Urban Institute released the executive summary of their new Pilot Study of Landlord Acceptance of Housing Choice Vouchers. The focus of the study is to identify how difficult is it to find voucher-affordable units in Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Newark, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The full summary is expected to be released in September.